Feb 4: Hansard, the Record of the House of Commons

Feb 04, 2009

Hansard is official record of the House of Commons in Ottawa. Here is the section on child care.

Child Care 

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.): 
Mr. Speaker, we have just heard that the city of Toronto has announced that it is being forced to cut over 6,000 child care spaces, almost one-quarter of all the subsidized spaces in Toronto, due to a shortfall in federal funding. We fear this may be just the beginning.

How can the Prime Minister claim that his government is helping the most vulnerable when he imposes these short-sighted cuts on Canadian families?

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC): 

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has her facts entirely wrong. There have been no cuts to child care funding. In fact, through the Canada social transfer, the funding for child care to the provinces this year will be going up 3%.
 

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): 

Mr. Speaker, the government's efforts to meet the needs of families are truly a failure. We have learned that 6,000 spaces will be lost in Toronto. That means that 6,000 families will face a crisis and will have to find care for their children. In addition, almost 1,000 day care workers will lose their jobs because this government is neglecting the needs of families.

Why is there no support for child care centres in this Liberal-supported budget?

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that there have been no cuts to child care transfers to the provinces. As I said a few moments ago to the other member of the coalition, the transfers to the provinces through the Canada social transfer will be going up 3% this year.

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, my question is really for the leader of the new coalition in the House between the Conservative Party and the Liberals.

I notice that the Prime Minister had trouble finding his way to ensure that the issue of women and their needs were mentioned in the budget. I am hoping that he will rise in his place and respond now that 6,000 families at least are going to lose child care for their families and 1,000 child care workers stand to be thrown out of work, which would make the Prime Minister and his government just as guilty of throwing people out of work as any multi-national corporation.

Why do we see no action to support child care from--

The Speaker:

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the facts are that we are spending three times as much money on early learning and child care as the previous Liberal government ever did.

We are increasing the Canada social transfer to the provinces by 3% and that includes significant amounts for child care to help families. In the last year alone that funding has been used to create over 60,000 new child care spaces right across this country to help families make a choice.

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the truth of the matter is that people are about to be thrown out of work and families are about to lose child care spaces.

Mothers and fathers, who are already at their wit's end with the economic crisis, are trying to figure out how they are going to find care for their children. This is about to roll out in many communities. The answer we are getting from the Conservative government is that it is about to do absolutely nothing about it.

In reading the budget, we see no action being taken around one of the most important issues facing us. How are we going to make sure that we get proper care for our youngest kids and support for their families if this is the kind of attitude we get? Where is the--

The Speaker:

The hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, three years ago we took action when we launched the universal child care benefit. That was designed to allow parents the choice of where and how to have their children cared for. We believe that they deserve to have that choice.

On top of that, we are providing incentives to corporations so that they can create child care spaces on-site to help families. We will be increasing the Canada social transfer to the provinces, which includes child care funding, by 3% next year. We have already created 60,000 new child care spaces across the country.

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